What Florida Couples Need to Know About Prenuptial Agreements
Prenuptial agreements have an unfairly negative image in the popular imagination. It makes many people think of marriages built entirely on the desire for status and appearances and not at all on trust. Perhaps the worst misconception that people have about prenuptial agreements is that people who sign them expect, from before they even exchange wedding vows, that the marriage will end in divorce. This is not always the case, though. At their best, prenuptial agreements are a clear indication that there are no misunderstandings about what belongs to each individual spouse and what belongs to the couple.
Prenuptial agreements can actually prevent conflict between spouses. The reason so many marital conflicts are about money is because so many people do not have honest discussions about their financial plans, their assets and debts, and their values about money before they get married. Successfully drafting a prenuptial agreement means not hiding wealth or debts from your fiancé.
Motivations for Drafting a Prenuptial Agreement
One could argue that every engaged couple should discuss their financial status and financial goals to the extent that they can jointly issue a written statement about how they plan to respond to various changes in financial status. When you need a prenuptial agreement the most is when one spouse stands to suffer a great financial setback in the event of a divorce. The more complicated your finances are, the more you can benefit from a prenuptial agreement. Couples in the following situations are most in need of prenuptial agreements:
- One spouse has a much higher income than the other
- One spouse has a much higher net worth than the other at the time of marriage
- One spouse has many thousands of dollars in debt obligations at the time of marriage, but the other does not
- One or both spouses have children from a previous relationship
- The couple plans for one spouse to be a stay-at-home parent, therefore having very little income for many years
- One spouse owns a business individually or with partners
Inheritance can likewise be a thorny issue in divorce. Florida law tends to treat inherited assets as non-marital property. It is possible for non-marital property to become marital property. If you use your inherited money to support your spouse during the marriage, the judge might not be so easily convinced that it is really non-marital property.
Prenuptial Agreements Are a Serious Legal Matter
A prenuptial agreement is a legal document on which judges and mediators will rely heavily in determining how to divide property in a divorce. It is a good idea to have a lawyer help you draft a prenuptial agreement. If you and your fiancé write the agreement without a lawyer’s help, at least have a lawyer review it. This way, you will be sure that you understand the legal implications of the document you are signing.
Contact Bundza & Rodriguez About Prenuptial Agreements
Prenuptial agreements are detailed financial plans for couples. While they are used as guidelines in divorce cases, they are also important for reasons that have nothing to do with divorce. Contact Bundza & Rodriguez in Daytona Beach, Florida, for help drafting or interpreting your prenuptial agreement.